Just several days ago, on April 15th, 2019, Paris's beloved cathedral became engulfed in flames. The fire grew, eventually collapsing the spire sitting atop the cathedral, leaving behind roughly one billion dollars in damages. Notre Dame was built back in the 12th century, so this tragedy was crushing to the people of Paris and France as a whole, as Notre Dame is such a symbolic landmark in Europe.
There's no question that this fire was devastating. However, there is controversy over what happened after the fire broke out. Several days after it became known that repairs to the cathedral would cost nearly a billion dollars, many French billionaires pledged to donate hundreds of millions of dollars to help rebuild. Again, no one is saying that money shouldn't be given to rebuild the landmark, but some people were shocked with how quickly hundreds of millions of dollars were raised.
One of the arguments against this brings up the reality that when real-world issues that plague more people arise, these large sums of money are hard to come by. Many people point out that there are much more dire world problems, such as funding for schools, clean water, and food for all people. If only we could easily raise billions of dollars so quickly to go towards other issues, such issues would not affect so many people.
The counter-argument is that these billionaires that are donating the large sums of money have the ability to do whatever they want with it. These billionaires work to make money, and they have the right to decide how they choose to spend it. Notre Dame is such a significant and representative piece of beautiful architecture that is held so deeply in the hearts of French people and the culture of the country. Who is to say that people who love the cathedral so much should not donate their own money to restore it?
When I had heard the news of the fire, I was not thinking too much about the aftermath. I remember feeling heartbroken for the city of Paris because I have been to Notre Dame. I have seen its incredible beauty in person, and I have learned about its extensive history and what it means to the French people. I was devastated that such a beautiful place had been damaged. I was thrilled when I heard that the cathedral was going to be restored.
So personally, I don't know which side of the argument I fall most on. I do agree that there are so many world problems that could just be fixed or at least move in the right direction with the help of monetary donations from people. But I also recognize that for a place so significant to so many people, it deserves to be rebuilt and continue to stand as one of Paris's most beautiful landmarks.
What do you think?